Tenth Circuit Judge on Short List for Possible Supreme Court Vacancy

June 26 2005, 11:32 AM
Monday is the big day for the Supreme Court. In addition to announcing the final six decisions, including one on the Ten Commandments, one or more Justices, presumably Chief Justice William Rehnquist or Sandra Day O'Connor, may announce their retirement. If a vacancy occurs, there's a lot of speculation about possible replacement candidates. President Bush is sure to pick a conservative. One judge that makes every list is Tenth Circuit Appeals Court Judge Michael McConnell. The Tenth Circuit includes Colorado, and is based in Denver. The Denver Post today examines Judge McConnell's record. Here's some of the reasons liberals are worried about his potential ascension to the nation's highest court:
....in a 1998 op-ed piece for The Wall Street Journal, McConnell contended that "the reasoning of Roe vs. Wade is an embarrassment to those who take constitutional law seriously." "The right of privacy is nowhere mentioned in the Constitution," McConnell wrote. "The Supreme Court brought great discredit on itself by overturning state laws regulating abortion without any persuasive basis in constitutional text or logic." On another simmering social issue -- the relationship between church and state in America -- McConnell has built a legal foundation from which conservatives argue that it's constitutional, advantageous and well within American tradition to mingle political and religious goals. McConnell believes that government does not breach the wall between church and state when using religious institutions to administer federal social programs, or when a university offers public funds to student religious groups. He supports school voucher programs and aid to parochial schools.